Similar to numerous companies this year expressing political beliefs to their customers, Expensify CEO David Barrett sent an email to millions of the company’s newsletter subscribers and customers urging U.S. citizens to vote for Joe Biden. The government accountability nonprofit Americans for Public Trust filed a complaint against Expensify, an expense management company, for effectively giving Biden a campaign donation without reporting the contribution, as required by law.
“Anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy,” Barrett said in the email.
Barrett’s email calling for Biden’s victory, APT says, qualifies as an independent campaign expenditure but was not properly disclosed to the FEC within the 24-hour period following its delivery, despite FEC guidelines requiring this.
“All independent expenditures require a disclaimer,” the FEC website states.
Numerous companies have been using their business resources and customer bases to either openly or in effect campaign for the Democratic Party this year, and doing so not only amounts to millions of dollars in in-kind contributions to Democrats, it’s illegal, APT says.
“Expensify spent corporate resources in support of Joe Biden’s election but completely skated campaign finance law,” Executive Director of APT Caitlin Sutherland claimed. “APT is asking the FEC to intervene and ensure that all Americans are held to the same standards when choosing to use corporate resources to explicitly advocate for a candidate of their preference.”
While Barrett received backlash for sending the email, he was unapologetic, claiming that it is within his First Amendment rights to tell people how to vote and saying that they didn’t have to listen if they don’t want to.
“A vote for Trump is to endorse voter suppression, it really is very basic,” Barrett claimed.
I thought it was bizarre and vain for Expensify's CEO to send this email to all his users. As noted in here, many of the recipients weren't even his clients — they were employees of his clients. Would you want a bunch of political messages from your employer's vendors? https://t.co/Oh0tkV0FwF
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) October 29, 2020
Oy. Just saw that dumb "Vote for Biden" email from the Expensify CEO. "I just care about democracy!" No you don't. I'm so tired of everyone doing this dumb red versus blue stuff and pretending it's about something more noble.
— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) October 23, 2020
Barrett also stated the election matters to the company because “not many expense reports get filed during a civil war,” hinting that Trump may not leave office, even after potentially serving two terms, despite his promises to do so if voters truly choose Biden.
“The only way to ensure a peaceful transition of power is to ensure this election is an overwhelming, undeniable landslide in favor of Biden,” Barrett said. “Any excuse to question the election is an opportunity for Trump to refuse to leave the White House, plunging this country into a Constitutional crisis bordering on civil war.
“No matter how slight that risk might be, the consequences of it happening would be so catastrophic to society and the economy, we need to do all we can to prevent it,” he continued.
Barrett’s decision to politicize his company fits the pattern of corporations going increasingly “woke” and pushing certain political and social agendas on employees and customers. Over the last six months, many large companies and corporations issued statements to employees and customers in support of the Black Lives Matter political organization following the death of George Floyd, a black man. At least seven “Fortune 500” companies also donated funds to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation despite its Marxist roots and anti-capitalistic views, as well as high levels of criminal violence at BLM-related events.